We all start out as upright as this little girl until we're about four years old. Then we begin to imitate the adults around us. Unless we're lucky enough to live in a culture where Natural Posture is the norm, we lose the freedom and ease of our bodies.
What if it didn't have to be this way? What if you could learn to sit – and stand, walk, bend and sleep – in such harmony with gravity that your muscles would relax, your spine would straighten, your digestion and breathing would improve, and you could wave goodbye to back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee and foot pain?
That’s the promise of Natural Posture, also called Balance, or, in France where the work originated, Aplomb.
Natural Posture is based on careful study of populations that don’t suffer back pain from daily activities. Natural Posture teaches us to put our bones into place for the most efficient transfer of weight through our skeletal structure. When bones bear the weight, muscles relax. The results can be magical.
Natural Posture is also an awareness practice. And just like yoga, learning deepens when we take on a weekly class. The Natural Posture guidelines may be simple, but each time we review them, we understand them deeper in our bones.
In this five-week series you’ll learn to feel balance in your body. You'll know when you're out of balance, and know how to correct. We'll cover basic guidelines for standing, walking, bending, sitting back in a chair and sitting forward in a chair, as you would for working at a desk.
Week after week, the experience of being settled into a balanced seated position, as well as the repetition of the guidelines will begin to turn these new postural ideas into habits.
The work is gentle. If you can stand up and sit down, you’ll be able to do it. You don’t need special clothing, although you do need to wear either loose or very stretchy pants – not jeans.
Time: Thursdays, 5:30 to 7 pm, March 2 to March 30
Cost: $125 + GST for the five week series. Your space in the class will be held on receipt of payment.
To register, email Eve at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eve Johnson has been studying Spinefulness for two years and is working toward certification at the Balance Center in Palo Alto, CA.
What people who've experienced Natural Posture say about it:
I was looking after grandchildren again for the last four days after a five-day stint the week before. That usually results in increased pain and exhaustion. Not the last two weeks! I can highly recommend Natural Posture. Since implementing the postural changes Eve has taught me I am experiencing less tension and pain in my body. -- Avril Simpson, retired teacher.
I have some degeneration in my lower spine and whenever I get a warning signal from that area, I reassess my posture. The information on natural posture that Eve has passed on to me has helped me with “museum back” as well as on long sailing trips in rough weather. On our last trip to the Caribbean, we were hit by several squalls and 35+ knot winds. I was amazed that after a 10-hour day, mostly spent standing at the helm fighting the wind and waves, I didn’t have miserable back pain then or the next day.
I also think of Eve’s instructions for sitting, when I meditate, and especially when I’m on my bike commuting to work. I find her instructions really help with upper back stiffness and lower back pain. Finally, I think of Eve’s words pretty much every night when I go to bed and adjust my lying down posture. I have had much better, deeper sleep since doing so and am far less likely to wake up in the morning with a stiff back. -- Kathy, "reformed triathlete"
I revisited the pictures and must tell you that I’ve been doing the neck exercises with the strap every day and we also bought some memory pillows. I haven’t had neck pain for a couple of weeks. I have to keep reminding myself to sit and stand the way you taught me but it is becoming more of a habit and my back aches have disappeared too.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to share these exercises with me. It truly was a gift and this 78-year-old will benefit in the coming year and in the future. -- Shirley McCall, Fairmont Hotsprings